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June 19, 1966 -Ford goes 1, 2, 3 at Le Mans

When the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans came to an end on this day in 1966 it was a Ford GT40 in first, second and third place, marking the first time an American automobile won the race. With the three Mk. II Fords so far out in front of the rest of the field during the last pit stop, Henry Ford II decided to stage a publicity photo at the finish line, having all three cross nearly simultaneously.

The leading #1 car driven by Ken Miles and Denny Hulme crossed the finish line next to the #2 car driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, with the #5 GT40 trailing shortly behind. The #1 and #2 cars had both completed 360 laps but the #2 car started farther back, meaning even though they tied, the #2 car covered more ground anad therefore received the the first place trophy. Ken Miles, who was going for the endurance racing triple crown of Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans, was disheartened when he learned he lost the race due to a publicity stunt, saying, “I’m disappointed, of course, but what are you going to do about it.”

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